Month: July 2016

variegated skeins & what to knit with them

Do you ever see a skein of gorgeous variegated yarn that you just have to have? So you buy it and get it home only to realize you have no clue what to make with it? Yeah, that’s me. I’m a total sucker for bright, multicolored yarns, but they usually sit in my stash forever while their solid counterparts cycle in and out consistently. Well, I’ve found some patterns to help you in your moment (or moments!) of weakness!

I had a cheat day while on my yarn diet and snagged this crazy pretty skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Electric Rainbow.


Had I had the sense to grab 2 skeins, it would have become Gather by Andrea Mowry.

Gather © Andrea Mowry

But I just get so excited that I don’t think rationally. So I’m planning a Mon Sheepworks Shawl by Caitlin Hunter instead, possibly incorporating a bunch of bright Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud that I need to use up.

mon sheep
Mon Sheepworks Shawl © boylandknitworks

With either shawl, you’ll need at least one other solid yarn. So these aren’t “one skein wonder” projects, but they sure do make a statement!

A definite one skein wonder piece is Reyna by Noora Laivola. This pattern is written for fingering weight, but can easily be adpated to whatever you have! Just use the suggested needle size for your yarn (or one that creates a fabric you’re happy with). I used Miss Babs Yummy 3 ply, a sport weight, for my Reyna (see post here). Keep in mind you may have to remove a few repeats if you’re running out of yarn. The pattern is free, well written, and highly customizeable. I’m pleased with the final result of my shawl!

Reyna © theknitpicky

If you’re a sock lover, I highly recommend Whiskey and Rye by Audry Nicklin. (I also recommend whiskey and rye in general, but that’s another post!) I knit a sock from this pattern, but was having trouble converting the pattern for sport weight (totally my bad, not the pattern’s!). Before I frogged the sock, it was visually one of my favorite things I’ve knit. The slipped stitches just make variegated yarns sing! I have some more Miss Babs in my stash I think will be perfect for these and can’t wait to give them another go!

Whiskey and Rye © Audry Nicklin

Hats can also be a great way to show off that beautiful hank in your stash! I recently knit 2 lovely hats using a skein of Malabrigo Arroyo in the colorway Lotus. I fell in love with this yarn and brought it home about 6 months ago, where it stayed in my stash until I ran across Cabito by Gabriella Calderini. Like the sample, I decided to pair it with black (I used the same yarn in the Black colorway) to make the variegated yarn pop. This pattern really delivered! I didn’t want mine slouchy, so I started the decreases after 8″. I really like the brioche & broken brioche stitches in this hat, and would definitely knit it again. Bonus: it’s a free pattern!

Cabito © theknitpicky

I had also been in search of the perfect yarn for the Rudbeckia Hat by Andrea Mowry, when it dawned on me that I could use the leftovers from my Cabito! Rudbeckia calls for light DK or sport, so this worked out just right. Mine isn’t quite as slouchy as Andrea’s, so I would probably knit the Large size if I had to do it over. But I’m still really happy with this hat and love how the pattern breaks up the variegated yarn (yay for no pooling)! I even have enough yarn left to make another hat… I’m thinking another Rudbeckia, but switching the MC and CC. Dreamy!

Rudbeckia Hat © theknitpicky

Another idea for DK weight are the Tinsel Mitts by Andrea Mowry. I haven’t had a chance to knit these yet, but if Andrea’s other designs are any indication, this one will be awesome! Using less than 250 yards for the largest size, you may be able to get more than one pair out a skein! (Matching mama/baby mitts, anyone?! Swoon!) I love how these mitts make the yarn look like confetti… or sprinkles? Either way, they’re a party on your hands! Versatile with 3 options – classic, convertible, or fingerless – and sized for the whole family. What’s not to love?!

Tinsel Mitts © Andrea Mowry

Before I became really active on Ravelry, I knit my mom a Barley hat by tincanknits, a simple and attractive pattern. Though I don’t remember the brand (nor do I have photos), the yarn I used was wonderfully variegated and earthy. I love how this pattern alternates between stockinette and garter, bringing out the uniqueness of each skein. By looking at the over 10,600 projects (holy cow!) made from this pattern, it’s obvious that it’s a great match for highly variegated yarns. Bonus: (besides being free!) it has instructions for all sizes – from baby all the way up to adult large.

Barley © Tin Can Knits

Andrea Mowry’s North Country Mitts, which I have knit and love, are another great option for worsted. Plus they use under 75 yards so you can whip up 3 pairs with just one skein… or make a matching hat! So many possibilities. Just look at this Electric Rainbow pair – so fun!

Electric Rainbow Mitts © sarahjoannee

This is for lovers of those big, squishy skeins of Malabrigo Mecha and other bulky yarns. The popular free pattern Chicakdee Cowl is an excellent one-skein project. I haven’t knit this myself, but I have plenty of experience with bulky yarns. The advantage is that these projects knit up super fast and are super cozy! This cowl would be just perfect for a last minute gift! Check out the nearly 2,000 projects on this pattern and see if this one might work for that lovely bulky skein in your stash.

Chickadee by throughtheloops

In general, when looking for patterns for that variegated yarn lurking in your stash, I recommend knitting a quick gauge swatch in stockinette. If there’s any pooling, try to find patterns that incorporates slipped stitches, brioche, or some kind of texture like seed stitch. Many variegated yarns also look great in stockinette! If you like the way your swatch looks, a basic pattern might be just what you’re looking for! Whether you choose a delicate shawl, simple hat, bulky cowl, intricate socks, or fun mitts, there are so many great patterns out there for your lonely yarn!

What are your favorite patterns for these gorgeous skeins?

halfway through | #52weeksofknits

I can’t believe half the year is gone! Now that June is in the books, I want to reflect on the first half of 2016 and my #52weeksofknits resolution. Back in January, when I decided to embark on this journey, I honestly didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Finding the time (and let’s not even talk about the money for good quality yarn) to knit one thing each week… what was I thinking?! But I am so incredibly glad I made this commitment. So far, I’ve completed one item (at least) each week – even if I haven’t written a post about it. My goal was to learn and grow as a knitter, but I didn’t quite realize just how much I would learn.

Shawl most of my 26 knits!

I knit my very first pair of socks, and have already knit 2 more socks (2 different patterns… second sock syndrome is real, people)! I also knit both my first sweater (plus one for my pup Molly) & first cardigan – all huge learning experiences, especially the cardigan. I’m pretty pleased with these items and have a couple more sweaters slated for the 2nd half of the year. My first (and second and third and fourth…) shawl introduced me to a new world of knitting and a serious addiction. I want to knit all the shawls! Most recently, I completed the Pineberry Tee by We Are Knitters for week 26. I’m hoping to get some photos up soon!

Techniques I’ve learned include magic loop, brioche & 2-color brioche, colorwork, blocking, test knitting, using charts, German twist cast on, garter tab cast on, picot bindoff… and I know there are more I’m forgetting! Learning new skills is definitely a highlight of this project for me.
Perhaps most importantly, I’m really learning through all these knits to slow down. I need to not only enjoy the process, but trust my instinct when I feel I’ve made an error. I’m definitely getting better at realizing mistakes when they happen, but I tend to “trust the pattern” instead of trusting my gut. Many times I misunderstand or misread the pattern, and it’s important to stop and reassess things when something doesn’t feel right.

So where do I go from here? Well, I could show you the spreadsheet – really, there’s a spreadsheet. I’m an accountant, what can I say? But I’ll spare you the columns and rows and instead share a more general idea of what my plans are for the 2nd half of the year!

I’m participating in the Om/Yoga KAL with the Yoga shawl, which I’d love to have done by the end of the KAL – August 1. I also have a few more shawls scheduled, at least 2 of which are for myself. At least a dozen of the knits will be for gifts, so Christmas shopping will hopefully be minimal once December rolls around! Several hats, a kimono, more shawls, a pair or two of mitts, cozy slippers, Christmas tree ornaments… the list goes on and I just want to knit 24/7! Another goal of mine for the last half of the year is to knit from stash. I’m officially on a yarn diet, so please wish me luck as I avoid yarn sales!

I can’t wait to see what the second half of the year will bring knit-wise (and otherwise)! I’d love to hear what you’ve knit so far this year or what your plans are for July – December! Happy Knitting 🙂